Carbon3D. CLIP Technology
Published on March 30, 2015
By bringing a fresh perspective to the challenges of 3D printing, they are committed to advancing the industry beyond basic prototyping to true 3D manufacturing.
3D printing has struggled to deliver on its promise to transform manufacturing. Prints take forever, parts are mechanically weak, and material choices are far too limited. That’s because current 3D printing technology is really just 2D printing, over and over again.
CLIP — Continuous Liquid Interface Production — is a breakthrough technology that grows parts instead of printing them layer by layer. CLIP allows businesses to produce commercial quality parts at game-changing speeds, creating a clear path to 3D manufacturing.
Harnessing Light + Oxygen
UV light triggers photopolymerization and oxygen inhibits it. By carefully balancing the interaction of light and oxygen, CLIP continuously grows objects from a pool of resin.
CLIP moves beyond the limitations of 3D printing to offer unprecedented speed, quality, and choice.
While speed is dependent on various factors, traditional 3D printing takes hours or even days to finish. CLIP is 25 to 100 times faster.
Below is a head-to-head comparison* of producing a 51mm diameter complex object like the one on the left. It can’t be fabricated by traditional manufacturing techniques.
Traditionally made 3D printed parts are notoriously inconsistent. The mechanical properties vary depending on the direction the parts were printed due to the layer-by-layer approach.
Parts printed with CLIP are much more like injection-molded parts. CLIP produces consistent and predictable mechanical properties, creating parts that are smooth on the outside and solid on the inside.
Their process makes it possible to exploit a huge range of materials desired for production-quality parts.
They’re able to draw from the whole polymer family to meet highly specific application requirements. Elastomers, for example, cover a range of needs, from the high elasticity needed for athletic shoes to the strength and temperature resistance needed for automotive parts.
Carefully managed chemical reactions, controlled by sophisticated software.
LIGHT SOLIDIFIES THE RESIN. OXYGEN KEEPS IT FROM SOLIDIFYING.
Traditional 3D printing requires a number of mechanical steps, repeated over and over again in a layer-by-layer approach. CLIP is a chemical process that carefully balances light and oxygen to eliminate the mechanical steps and the layers. It works by projecting light through an oxygen-permeable window into a reservoir of UV curable resin. The build platform lifts continuously as the object is grown.
The heart of the CLIP process is a special window that is transparent to light and permeable to oxygen, much like a contact lens. By controlling the oxygen flux through the window, CLIP creates a “dead zone” — a thin layer of uncured resin between the window and the object. This makes it possible to grow without stopping. As a continuous sequence of UV images are projected, the object is drawn from the resin bath. Sophisticated software manages the entire process by controlling the variables.